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Grenfell: Leading black organisations list demands for PM

PROTESTS: Whitehall saw throngs of people demanding justice for Grenfell victims today

RESPECTED BLACK and ethnic minority organisations synonymous with leading social change in Britain expressed their sorrow, shock and outrage at the appalling tragedy of the wholly unnecessary loss of life and suffering at Grenfell Tower.

The organisations and individuals in question, which include Operation Black Vote, Black Sox, Society of Black Lawyers, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts, also known as BARAC, the NHS BME Network and Just Yorkshire, have created a list of demands which will be presented to the authorities responsible for investigating the tragedy.

The consortium has commended the work and bravery of firefighters and local residents and note that their work stands in stark contrast with, "The failure of leadership in central and local Government who are more concerned with damage limitation..."


TRIBUTES: Onlookers visit a space dedicated to the dead and the missing near Grenfell Towers

THE DEMANDS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

An apology from the Prime Minister, whose Government bears the full responsibility of failing to act since 2013 and the failure to implement the coroner’s report of 2013 on the Lakanal fire in the London Borough of Southwark;

The resignation of the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Gavin Barwell, the former Minister of Housing who on October 16, 2016, said, “We have not set out any formal plans to review the buildings regulations as a whole”;

The immediate fire safety assessment of all 4,000 similar tower blocks in the UK;

An urgent corporate manslaughter investigation by the Metropolitan Police into Kensington and Chelsea Management Organisation (KCTMO); Harley Facades, Rydon and all other contractors that bear responsibility for the renovation work;

An independent Public Inquiry called by the Prime Minister, to be chaired by a High Court Judge and address how poverty, austerity, cuts, local private property interests and unlawful discrimination affected the delivery of housing services and safety of people in Grenfell Tower;

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, one of the UK’s wealthiest, be directed to rehouse all the affected families and provide emergency disaster relief to those directly affected, including trauma counselling

There be immediate special measures imposed on KCTMO who have had two enforcement notices served on them in recent years, following a fire in a 14 storey block of 78 flats they own in October 2015;

The implementation of the Hillsborough Rule (proposed by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester), where families receive legal aid to be represented after such a tragedy in any inquest or Public Inquiry.

Lee Jasper, former Race Equality adviser to the Mayor of London and now a representative of Black Sox, commented:

“Whilst we grieve for the families and those missing and injured, we urge the Metropolitan Police to urgently arrest those responsible at the Kensington and Chelsea Management Organisation (KCTMO) and the relevant contractors for possible manslaughter charges and to seize all available evidence before it is destroyed.

"This is not only a continuing danger to the public but a crime scene. We remember all too well that when the victims are poor, black and minority people, money is saved, corners cut and investigations fail, as with the Deptford Fire.”


HOPEFUL: Friends and family of missing Grenfell Tower resident Zainab Dean, who was on the phone to her brother whilst the fire was raging

Ismet Rahat of the AML stated:

“We are proud of our Islamic youth and our mosques who have demonstrated their community support.

"There has been an abandonment of safety standards for the poor who are forced to occupy the least popular highest floors of properties all over the UK. These are disproportionally families with young children, minorities and those suffering with a disability.

"No private sector tenant in a buy-to-let property would tolerate such safety standards, the lack of functioning fire alarms and safety systems.

"All faith communities have shown the type of commitment not shown by RBKC.

"No offer of housing has come from any member of the royal family despite their abundance of accommodation in London.”

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